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You might be aware of Settings Services since a recent update added more sizing options for the Pixel Battery widget, and a Google support article now fully explains what the app is responsible for.

The Settings app on your phone uses core system software called Settings Services. The software allows setup, connection, and customization for settings on your phone and certain app settings.

It’s not something that Pixel users are supposed to interact with, but before Android 12 QPR3 in June you’d see it in the widgets list. The application has been updated via the Play Store since 2018.

The system gives permissions to Settings Services for things like displaying information about network connections and connected devices, setting rules for when to activate do not disturb mode, or sending notifications.

The Pixel help article goes on to explain each granted permission:

  • Mobile network connection: Settings Services checks whether your phone is connected to a mobile network.
  • Connected devices: This permission lets widgets display status info for your phone and its Bluetooth-connected devices.
  • Notifications: Settings Services displays status notifications and updates. Different notifications have their own settings preferences.
  • Location: Rules can help automate location-dependent changes that you regularly make in Settings, such as switching your phone to silent when you get to work. Rules needs all-the-time location access to work correctly. Location data stays on your phone and is not sent to Google. You can change location permissions and Rules settings.

On the privacy front, Google says that “Settings Services may collect phone or other IDs, app interactions, crash logs, and diagnostics” if collection of “Usage & diagnostics” – under Settings > Privacy – is enabled. 

Including Settings Services, Pixel phones today have over a dozen background service applications that are updated via the Play Store:

Adaptive Connectivity Services, Android System Intelligence (previous Device Personalization Services), Carrier Services, Device Health Services, Google Connectivity Services, Google Play Protect Service, Google Play Services, Google Play Services for AR, Google Support Services, Pixel Camera Services, Private Compute Services, and Speech Services by Google.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com